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Local Digest: Mishaps continue in Chandra Levy murder trial

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Levy case mishaps

Lawyers in the Chandra Levy murder trial acknowledged another error in processing evidence against Ingmar Guandique, the man police and prosecutors say killed the former intern.

At a status conference in D.C. Superior Court for Guandique, who is charged with first-degree murder in Levy's death, Assistant U.S. Attorney Fernando Campoamor-Sanchez said his office sent an envelope to Guandique's defense attorneys containing a hair from a skull found in Rock Creek Park at the time Levy's body was found. But Guandique's attorney, Maria Hawilo of the District's Public Defender Service, said that when her office opened the envelope, the hair was missing.

The hair mishap was at least the third such error involving the handling of evidence in the case. During hearings last year, prosecutors acknowledged that two people involved in the case contaminated evidence with their own DNA.

Levy went missing in 2001. Her remains were found a year later in Rock Creek Park. Guandique, who has been serving a 10-year sentence for attacks on other women in the park, has pleaded not guilty. His trial is set for October.

-- Keith L. Alexander

Prisoner dies

A 38-year-old man found unconscious Thursday in a cell at the D.C. police department's 7th District station was pronounced dead at a hospital, authorities said. He was identified as Gerard E. Hayes of Southeast Washington. He had been arrested for allegedly accosting his ex-girlfriend with a gun in Prince William County.

D.C. police and emergency medical services officials offered few details about the incident Thursday, saying only that a prisoner had been found unconscious in a cell at the station about 11:30 a.m. and taken to George Washington University Hospital. Police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump confirmed Friday that he had died. She said the circumstances of his death were under investigation and that the department would release no further information.

In a statement Friday, officer Erika Hernandez, a Prince William police spokeswoman, identified the man as Hayes, of the 2300 block of Irving Street SE.

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